One of the hallmarks of Anusara Yoga is the practice of ‘Looking for the good’. This simply means that you mindfully approach all situations with an openhearted understanding that inherently there is goodness in all things. This concept is borne from the Tantric philosophy that all people, situations and things that we encounter are of the one essence. That the fabric of all manifestation in the Universe is woven with one thread. While that thread is the ‘same’ what it weaves and creates is hugely diverse – you, me, the earth, plants, animals, the planets etc.
This diversity is stunning. The simple fact that every human being that has ever and will ever live has a unique set of fingerprints and eyes, is awesome. More awesome still is that the expression and song of each individuals ‘heart of hearts’ is theirs alone. It is quite mind-blowing. Then if we look at the magic of the natural world, our plants and animals it can be very humbling. THEN, if we look upwards and outwards into the infinity of the Universe it is doubly mind-blowing.
Taking it for granted
Yet, we take it all for granted. The truth is that the wonder of creation and the work of the master weaver or Universal/Absolute Consciousness often goes unnoticed. Looking for the good is pretty easy but requires a shift in awareness. It requires that we change the filter of our outlook and attitude. We shift to actively appreciate the glory and gift of this life.
Good and Evil
Some may say that this is not a realistic viewpoint and that life is not all good. For sure there is no denying that there is a lot of ugliness and evil in the world. We as humans are given the faculty of ‘free choice’ and we choose to be ‘good’ or ‘evil’. We choose to love or hate. This creator is not an interventionist god/goddess and doesn’t make good or bad things happen. It simply is. We co-create this life through our choices, we literally create our lives as we go.
Regardless of what our choices are we are still woven from the same thread. The texts tell us that unconditional love and an inherent ‘goodness’ are among the many qualities of the Absolute. In other words, that ‘goodness’ is unopposed and is present even in the worst of times and in the darkest of places. It simply is. During the Anusara 100 Hour Immersion we study the nature of the Universal and then in the Anusara Teacher Training we explore this further in our own practice.
You might ask ‘why do we not know this, why do we not see the positive all the time’? There is a reason for this. Your brain is programmed through the process of evolution to look for danger. We used to be prey for predators and we learned how to survive by being watchful and reacting and assessing possible dangers. We were constantly on high alert. As a result our brains act like ‘velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive’- ( Buddhas Brain by Rick Hanson)
Just Do It
Like all yoga and mindful practices, ‘looking for the good’ is both simultaneously simple and difficult. Simple in that the invitation is always there, in all encounters and relationships and difficult because we are human and are hugely influenced by our emotions, hormones and habits. We have created neural pathways and patterns that lead us to do the same thing today and react in the same way we did yesterday purely because that is what we do.
In yoga philosophy we talk of patterns or imprints called Samskaras. On the 200 hour Anusara Yoga Teacher Training we study these patterns in order to know ourselves better. They are not only created in this lifetime but that can be brought from past lives to this life. With all of the inherent noise going on in your mind and your brain, it is not easy to turn down the volume. The practice requires that you take a step back, breathe and look for what is positive. Literally count your blessings. The more we do this we then create new patterns and override the negative tendancies.
- Firstly, before you moan or idly complain about things, stop. Ask yourself if you need to vocalise those feelings? Are those feelings relevant? Does the situation truly bother you or are you reacting on automatic pilot? Is there another and more positive way to view the situation?
- Smile – smiling encourages your brain to produce feel good hormones and the more they flood your system the happier you are, the more you smile and the cycle goes on and on
- Spend time in nature and do things that inspire you and that are uplifting. Practice seeing the beauty, noticing when you feel good and express gratitude
- Hang out with people who you love and who make you happy
- Last but not least, remember that you are deeply connected to everyone and everything – see yourself reflected in others and in the Universe
I see my reflection in the heartaching arch of the swans neck
In the burnt dirt and the dung
In the bow of the wild daffodils
On wings, on wind
In your eyes
Certified Advanced Anusara Yoga Teacher Trainer
Anusara 100 Hour Immersion starts 5th October and is open to all yoga students – http://www.ardnahoo.com/
Anusara 200 Hour Teacher Traning starts 5th October – http://www.ardnahoo.com/