Now I’m not usually one for ranting, but this week I feel like ranting. The weather doesn’t help, it’s the 1st July and it’s raining…again. It’s so annoying! We – well I then – spend the majority of the year longing for the summer what with its sunshine and outdoor days, only to find that this year, summer’s decided to stay away. Pants!
But I’ve got other gripes. One thing that’s been perplexing me this week is the whole road courtesy thing. It’s something E has taught me over the years – “pay it forward” he calls it; you know when you do a good deed without expecting anything in return. When he’s driving he repeatedly let’s people out from junctions and drive-ways so that actually I used to get really annoyed with him, “we’ll be late”, I’d stress at him as he stopped to let out the twentieth person on that particular journey.
But of course we were never late and he was just trying to help people have an easier day. I get that now, and I try to do the same when I remember, oops, but I’ve noticed how often people are on autopilot on the roads and often don’t realise how much of a difference they could make my letting the traffic flow a little easier, allowing that person to cross the road, or letting that car get out of their drive-way. It just makes you feel a bit better knowing you’re doing something kind for someone else.
But I have to say it does slightly entertain me (for want of a better word) when you do let people out of a ‘stuck’ situation and they don’t acknowledge you in any way. I know, I know, there’s the whole karma “giving without expectation of return” and the whole “non-attachment” to outcome thing, but it’s just polite isn’t it?! Just a gentle wave or even a smile, just something to say thank you if you don’t mind! The trouble is there is a great sense of entitlement on the roads!
It reminds me of something a Reiki Master friend of mine said to me a few years ago. Pre-Reiki and spiritual practice, she used to be a director of a local financial institution and felt she was very important as a result of this (her words not mine). In fact, she felt that she was so important in her role that she allowed this sense of importance to affect her actions outside of the office so that she absolutely felt that she was entitled to be let out of junctions without the need to thank anyone – ‘it’s me, of course they need to let me out’!
This sense of entitlement, this feeling of being better than everyone else seeped out into all aspects of her life but she said it showed up most on the road. She was very honest about it, because she said that this is how she measured how much her life was shifting post-finance world, and it was something she became more and more conscious of as she became, well, more and more conscious. This made me laugh, because I see this all the time, I think it’s a money/power thing, certainly in terms of the cars with the drivers who seem to think they own the roads.
This leads me on to my other gripe. Yoga teachers who think they are better than everyone else. You know the type. They put themselves on some spiritual/enlightened pedestal what with their mantras, nose piercings, mala beads and tales from India. Just-qualified teachers can sometimes be the worst, but even those with years of experience can be guilty too.
It shouldn’t bother me, but it does, because it gives the impression that by teaching yoga it makes you better, wiser, more enlightened than everyone else somehow. Rubbish, that’s just the crafty spiritual ego taking hold (hee, hee that ego shows up in many guises!). As you become more enlightened, in theory the ego drops away, it certainly shouldn’t get more pronounced, so that really the yoga teacher becomes even more ordinary. It shouldn’t be about them in any event, its about being a channel for the Divine right, and well, we’re all Divine so we’re all one of them.
I’m also struggling with all the people trying to re-invent the wheel in an effort to change the world. Yes, change the world, I quite agree with this, but get out of your head and into your body and embody it. I don’t much care for all the spouting of research and the intellectualising of everything (and me, an intellect of sorts!), just get on and live it. If you want to see a kinder world, then be kinder, encourage your children to be kinder, change the world that way, not by telling everyone else that they need to do this or do that to be kinder, that’s bypassing the matter at hand.
Further, I certainly don’t need research to tell me how to parent my child. How can some person living in some other community and culture with some other child quite different to my own, know what’s best for my child, just because her or his research shows this or that? We have an intuition, only that our culture and educational system and indeed societal conditioning does nothing to entertain or develop this. It’s a shame, a real shame, I think we’d all be much happier if we truly knew what our own body, our own wisdom was trying to tell us from moment to moment rather than constantly giving away our power to someone else who we think knows us better than we could ever know ourselves.
If you want to change the world, then you need to change yourself simple as that. You need to get stuck into the nitty gritty and often very dark and challenging work of getting to know yourself that little bit better, bringing your shadows to the surface, acknowledging your negative tendencies and behaviour patterns and making friends with all aspects of your being. You need to be deeply truthful and honest if you hope to live an authentic and sincere life. Talking about it is never the same. Preaching to others is just damn right rude, you shouldn’t need to preach, its all about action, and being a living example for others should be enough – but of course you need to embody your preaching then.
And don’t get me wrong, I know there’s been times when I too have preached, and my Mum has wasted no time in pulling me up on this. I’m not proud of those moments, but I guess it is all part of the learning experience. Just that I notice its happening more and more these days as people try to be someone, the airy fairy ego-spiritual world is rife with it, so you have to be particularly discerning and intuitive (ha) to know the real from the unreal as the Universe throws more illusion our way.
It’s a tricky one isn’t it, but the buck stops with us, only us, and I’m certainly still working on that. Not just in terms of whether I am kind on the roads, or whether I think about where that particular disposable consumer product is sourced and how I’m going to dispose of it, or the impact of my thoughts (and choice of thoughts) in terms of the negativity or positivity that they give out to the world, but my actions and how I interact with my very own flesh and blood, whether I can be as kind to them, as understanding and indeed considerate and giving as I may be of a compete stranger, that’s often where the deepest work needs to take place.
So there we go, ranting over. Sometimes it’s good isn’t it to get it all off your chest? Makes you feel lighter somehow, well its made me feel lighter at least. And I guess its worth remembering that we’re all just human after all aren’t we, especially us yoga teachers, ha! But perhaps consider letting that car out today and giving a wave if it’s someone else letting you out instead and I’ll do the same!