“The simple act of kindness is by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer” Mahatma Gandhi
I was inspired to teach about Maitri as a reaction to current events and the layers of what humanity face all over the world. Maitri’s Bhavana is to cultivate, produce, develop the feeling is one of friendliness, benevolence, affection, kindness, good-will, it is this unconditional friendship, acceptance and love for oneself and others.
When we strip off our cultural conditioning, bias, beliefs, impressions, habitual tendencies, in the Yogic perspective we all are an expression of the One, Grace, Divinity, Pure Consciousness, the light of Prana that flows within us all. When we say Namaste we are saying the Divine that flows within me, I recognise that same flow of Divine Life within you. That fundamentally we are the essence of a Divine that is in the form of your unique embodiment. And each one of us has a basic goodness, a decency, that love is at our core, our true nature. That we all have a desire to have more joy, happiness and fulfilment in our lives And not to suffer. However, just as the teachings express this is unavoidable because we love and exist we are subjected to the pain of change, illness and death. The ironic dilemma is that the more we love, the deeper we feel it the more it hurts when it changes, we loose it and have to grieve it. It’s like how we enjoy the light and heat of the fire, however when we get to close it burns. We learn to keep ourselves safe by backing away from the fire, but over time we are so faraway from the flame, we can’t benefit from its heat and light. Our work in Practice is to begin to make friends with ourselves, to stop looking for validation outside and turn our attention to feeling at home and relaxed within when we feel that fire burning. Our practice is to build that fire, we call this Tapas, physical fire, energetic fire and mental fire of concentration to create a positive change. As the saying goes “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me” This is the real work of Practice – to have a relationship with our pain, difficulty and hardship.
Yoga Sutras points out 5 Kleshas, mental emotional afflictions we all will struggle with;
- Avidya – Ignorance,
- Asmita – Egotism,
- Raga – Attachment,
- Dvesa – Avoidance,
- Abinivesha – Fear of loss, change and death
Yoga Sutra 1:31 states the 4 symptoms of suffering observed in practice manifests as
- Negative thinking
- Emotional distress
- Instability in the body
- Disturbances in the breath that mirror the mind
The solution is Yoga Sutra 1.29 says to move inwards and then Yoga Sutra 1.32 to focus on one thing at a time.
Yoga Sutra 1.33 Cultivate
- Non-judgemental loving awareness – Upekshanam,
- Friendliness – Maitri,
- Joy – Mudito happiness – Sukka
- Compassion – Karuna
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