Tuesday, August 26, 2008

If you are angry count to ten before you speak - Thomas Jefferson

If you are really angry, count to a hundred, before you speak ! I read this quote on the wall at the Hindu Temple in Grays Lake, IL, a suburb of Chicago. I was attending a puja in remembrance of my mother who passed away on August 25th, four years ago. It is a tradition in our family to remember our loved ones who passed away on their birthdays and the death anniversary.

Recently I was challenged by someone who said this tradition was not "Indian". Remembrance is not just an Indian tradition - its a universal tradition. This was one of the oddest comments I have ever heard. It had bitterness and anger like hot lava flowing from a volcano. I wonder if the commenter had a loved one to miss? How can you not afford to remember your loved ones and not recognize those important days? It is a tradition I want to pass on to my children, just I learned from my own parents and grandparents. Every weekend I drive by a beautiful cemetery and its full of flowers left by loved ones of those who lie in the beautiful west hills of Portland. I was reminded by Guruji's interview in the upcoming movie Enlighten Up, where is he describes yoga as universal in the words of Patanjali.

So coming back to yoga - I was very intrigued by this quote and how anger can allow us to become so insane, that we lose all objectivity in life and let selfish and bitterness engulf us. We lower ourselves to a level that is inhuman and the vitriolic words come out of our mouths as painful as any actions that may result of anger. Both in business and personally I encounter anger nearly every day. I used to react to anger with anger... but as I become more attuned with my yoga practice, I have slowly learnt to remain detached from it. Its not that angry feelings don't come my way, I think it is natural to become angry when you are provoked. But becoming detached to the provocation or the provocative behavior allows you simply hold the reactions.

I can't even describe how less stressful that is.. So Jefferson is right counting a mindless 100 maybe the best you can do in order to hold your speak and calm down or take a time out from the anger. Or, you could try a yoga pose. Several come to my mind that I have tried, which includes a half uttanasana, with every attempt to open my chest and breathing deeply. Sometimes at home I will attempt the AdhoMukhaVriksasana. Focusing all your attention on your arms and shoulders puts all that energy into lifting you up vs pouting anger.

Readers' please give me your ideas and input through comments on how "count" when you get angry. Lately, when I am angry or upset, I have gone to read Mary Dunn's blog. She gets so many wonderful comments from so many people. Everyone of these wonderful souls ends with "I love you" or "With love" to Mary. How many souls she has touched. It is uplifting and inspiring and it always warms my heart. I wish that love on everyone.

For the last several days I have been in the Chicago area to visit my brother and his family, that includes a new born son. My little yoginis are in heaven with their cousins and it has been sheer joy and nothing else. All the anger, the hurt, the pain, the wars and the battles seem distant. There has been no yoga but I have experienced my older one do back and forward flips under water, like a dolphin and self taught. I call them water back and forward bends. She pulled off a shirsasana-2 in the play ground for me. Its just pure joy to see her do such things as she becomes a yogi at heart...


The Yogi

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