don christensen letter from the director moksha yoga bloor west newsletter greg pacek photography

Letter from the Director | The August Edition 2017

It is said that at the source of all conflict lies misunderstanding. Conflict itself is the dust kicked up which clouds our ability to see misunderstanding simply as a dynamic; one that is not bad or wrong, and one that can most always be worked with.

There is understanding and misunderstanding, yet all that really matters is that healthy connection be maintained. This is true for any relationship, whether it be the dynamic within a marriage, between a parent and child, a law enforcer and a suspected criminal or two governments of different countries.

A healthy connection begins to erode the moment one party lays blame against the other. Laying blame is the byproduct of hijacked emotions–emotions that are often well conditioned to immediately search for judgement. Judgement and criticism are the pain reducers which help us avoid the more uncomfortable, painful or possibly excruciating experiences that can come with misunderstanding. The energy and attention required to assign blame is the perfect distraction to steer us away from being vulnerable enough to pause, acknowledge and fully experience our true feelings.

Our inability to connect and express our feelings as a society is evident in the media attention that follows upon witnessing a politician who may publicly emote. Public expressions of emotions by our leaders is rare though it is beginning to occur more often and as long as the emotions are sincere, these are precious societal reminders of the interdependence of our humanness. It’s in the sharing of true feelings around a misunderstanding that allows us to be able to maintain connection.

It doesn’t matter if each party’s feelings differ because the simple act of sharing feelings reminds us of our joint humanness. Sharing what is true for us encourages empathy, compassion and maybe most importantly, more clarity around the situation at hand.

Maintained healthy connection can be expressed in many ways, including the act of agreeing to disagree. In this situation, the understanding of each party’s viewpoint is respected although they may need to disassociate with one another. Connection is still maintained, if only by way of thoughts of one another. Again, this rings true for any relationship on any level, as healthy thoughts of our countertypes reduces our suffering–even in situations of sustained misunderstanding.

Our willingness to understand someone else first (an extremely noble gesture), before pushing our need to be understood, is the open door allowing healthy (re)connection. And to know one’s self is imperative to maintaining connection as we understand others only to the degree that we understand ourselves.

This is where a regular yoga practice becomes the priceless gift that enables us to better understand ourselves, each other and our world. When mind and body have a misunderstanding, beware of the blaming ego. The misunderstandings taking place inside our bodies are really not that different than the misunderstandings of the world, and neither is the path to healthy connection (the end of suffering).

Understand first. Open the connection, allowing truth to show itself. Reduce your conflicts and stay more connected to your life.

See you in the practice room,

Don


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