Virtues of Peacefulness
I headed to yoga tonight on the 2nd floor of the 4043 N Ravenswood building, as I do every Tuesday night after work. I knew we were learning Philosophy (1 of the specialty yoga classes Tracy offers in the summer months), but I didn’t anticipate it being so emotional…
…but, in a good way. :)
We learned the Codes for Living Peacefully with Others: Ahimsa (compassion for all living things), Satya (commitment to truthfulness), Asteya (do not take what is not freely given), Brahmacharya (sense control), and Aparigraha (take only what is necessary). Tracy went through each of the virtues and talked about their history and significance & as we did our poses, she posed questions to us for personal reflection.
Do you tend to take more food than you need at a meal?
Do you look in the mirror and think negative thoughts about yourself?
Do you gossip about friends or acquaintances as entertainment?
Do you wish you looked like someone else?
Do you wish for material things that are out of your reach financially?
These questions and many more were asked and then each one was related back to the virtues of peacefulness that help us find calmness and harmony within ourselves by changing our spiritual mind. After all of the questions were asked, Tracy said that if any of us were human that most definitely we had all been guilty at one point or another of losing sight of life’s virtues, but that today was a place to start new. How refreshing!
I would say I’m a pretty positive/happy person, but at the same time I have a bad habit of thinking negatively about the way I look in the mirror, how I am perceived by others, and whether or not I’ve given people the “right” impression. I’m constantly judging myself on behavior that is intrinsically human, imperfect, and complicated.
Examples: I never leave my house without make-up. I worry constantly what people think of my home decorating. I wish that we had a new couch, carpet, coffee table, etc. because the ones we have look old and uncool. I point out negative things about myself in conversation because I assume people notice them, when in fact they probably don’t notice at all. I spend entirely too much time primping and usually leave the house looking very similar to what I did an hour before I started getting ready. I get angry about photos of me that aren’t taken from a certain angle that might be unflattering. I suck in my stomach when I go jogging because I think it looks big in my sweatpants – this just makes jogging harder. I don’t buy dresses without sleeves because I think my arms are weirdly shaped and all sleeveless dresses are unflattering. The worst: I check my reflection in shop windows.
I need to get my senses in check! These feelings that I keep having are such a waste of energy and are creating a snowball effect of negativity on my life. The #1 virtue Ahimsa says that I must not do harm to myself or anyone else – physically, verbally or mentally – it is my duty! So tonight I made a vow to myself to change. I will do my best to rid my mind of negative thoughts and focus on the good ones. I need to stop focusing on the things I don’t like about myself and instead find things I can appreciate and love.
It’s crazy to me how different and wonderful I feel since finding a connection between my body and spirit in today’s class. I have just been thinking all these terrible things for a long time. I need to be free of those thoughts, free to just be Shellie.