Did you try it? How’d it go?
When we look at someone else, the things that we notice (appreciate, dislike, find interesting, finds upsetting) give way more information about ourselves than about the other person. When we try to understand that ole’ mind of ours through the interactions that we have with people in the world, it’s a little like looking into a mirror. This week, I found some moments to consider this. When I felt a subtle shift in myself because of something someone did, I practiced taking a pause to notice my response. I say, “subtle” in that last line, because I found it very difficult to do this when there was something really annoying going on. In those situations, it was react then reflect…aaah, well. Maybe that will come. Overall, I found the shift in perspective to be helpful. Here are a couple of things I noticed:
1. I spent less time worrying about other people’s issues. The issues that I might be tempted to assess in other people become a chance to get friendly with myself. When I’m curious about the inner-workings of my mind, there is less room for those pesky judgmental tendencies.
2. I felt more connected and compassionate. When I see something in someone that perturbs, delights or triggers a response in me and then I apply the “how is that is a reflection of myself” question I get moment to postpone a reaction. I also find that I am able to relate to the person’s experience rather than defend myself from it. It is a way to connect with, “yeah, I know how that feels,” rather than separate with, “what’s your problem?”
This work that we do to understand ourselves IS yoga. It is a way of bringing attention and mindfulness to the moments of our lives. The steady practice of yoga over time gives us a way to cultivate the kind of perspective that we would like to bring with us to those difficult, joyful or painful times. When we are able to pause and not just react, we get to choose how we behave instead of letting our patterns and habits run the show* AND we can inspire the same in the people we encounter.** It is how our practice of yoga helps to make the world a better place.
(let the swelling of music begin)
*Next week, we continue with more Mirror-talk as I attempt to share some of the great stuff from my weekend workshop with Chase Bossart. One of the things I learned— Darsana means, “to see” or “mirror!!!!” (I almost peed with excitement when I heard that.) The Yoga Darsana, the philosophy of yoga, helps us to see ourselves.
**In Part IV, we are talkin’ mirror neurons. Did you know I do neurobiology in my spare time?