Awareness acts like a light flicking on to illuminate a dark room. That dark room could be your anger, your insecurity, your jealousy, your addiction(s), your avoidance, or the fear that you are allowing to run amuck in your life. Once illuminated we have the opportunity to Let Go.
Letting go requires some practice.
Like being the still, silent observer in Savasana at the end of your yoga class.
Again and again we come back to Savasana. To stillness. To learning to let go.
When our fears are left unchecked they become very real. Soon they infiltrate our every relationship, every perception, and may even begin to manifest as physical symptoms of illness or dis-ease within our bodies and minds. Soon we are reacting out of fear and insecurity - closing our hearts, closing ourselves off from friends, from lovers, from life. When we close and tighten around the vulnerable areas within us we actually begin to defend and protect the very things we want/need to let go of.
When you start to notice you no longer like the people in your life, or that life seems mundane and you no longer feel the joy of a new day; when things start to feel negative, everywhere, this is a sign that it's time to Let Go. In fact, as soon as you start to feel that internal stress, or the fire rising within you, something is being triggered. It's time to Let Go.
Doing this, I'm finding, is simpler than it sounds. Just like Life, in your yoga practice ...things will come up - a fearful thought, a judgement, a negative projection...and you simply notice these things as they present themselves. You let them rise to meet your consciousness. Then - instead of following that thought or that imaginary scenario down into the rabbit hole and tightening and closing your heart - you Let. It. Go.
Let it rise.... Notice it.... Feel it.... Let it go.
Life will help you. When you remain centered and aware everywhere you go you will notice triggers. Triggers are the things that stir up all the blocked energy within you. If you are committed to your own happiness, your own peace, you can begin to welcome these triggers. Instead of running away, smoking more cigarettes, eating more food, drinking more alcohol or doing whatever it is you continually do when discomfort presents in your life - you let yourself stay present. In the words of the Dalai Lama: "Every person we meet is an opportunity to practice..."
For example ~ I was recently told by a young 22 year old kid (who incidentally has never left the small town where he was raised and still lives with his parents) that I don't have a "real job"...among other things. This person is familiar with the struggles I have had this year and the enormous amount of energy it has taken to launch my business. Anyone who's ever attempted to be an entrepreneur, or to operate a yoga studio in this economy, knows just how much work is involved. In that moment I felt his disrespect like a punch in the gut. I let the energy rise within me. I felt the heat rush to my cheeks. I watched all the clever retorts and insults I wanted to say pour into my mind. but instead of entering into a banter of egos (I'm sure what he was hoping for) I simply let it go. Then I politely excused myself. Respectfully declining his high-five on my way out.
No explanation is needed. The Work is all done in the privacy of your own heart and mind.
It's easy to close your heart and shut down. It's easy to take other people's disrespect and ignorance personally. But the consequence of doing so is not optimal - bitterness, resentment, self doubt, more fear, isolation. Getting involved in the darkness does not dispel it. It feeds it.
When presented with darkness, no matter the source, look up and allow yourself to rise above it. Relax your heart. And let it fall behind you. Do not push against it, try to enter into dialog with it, or allow yourself to close and tighten because of it.
A great place to practice this is on your yoga mat or the meditation cushion, as there are plenty of things that will always arise. Especially when we begin to slow ourselves down and get really present. Your awareness keeps you centered and connected to your true nature. Call it Spirit, Shakti, Prana, Soul, whatever.....being aware allows you to stay in your center while the melodrama of life parades before you. Practice observing and letting go. Practice keeping your heart soft and open. Then, when you step off the mat and out into the world...keep noticing, keep returning to your breath, keep practicing.