A NEW APPROACH TO CHALLENGING TIMES: SHRADDA AND ISHVARA PRANIDANA
How does your mind react when you are facing a challenge? Do you want to get rid of it immediately? Do you tend to run away from it to avoid the emotions and feelings that could arise? Do you blame yourself for not being able to overcome it easily? Do you get frustrated?
Observe your mind and notice the thoughts that come to you, without judging yourself, simply observing.
Notice your reaction during a yoga practice: When you are in a long downward dog, or a plank and you experience a challenge at a physical level. What does come to your mind? You can ask yourself the same questions and it is quite likely that the answer will be similar, whether we are talking about an asana or a life experience.
Can you imagine a different approach to challenges? Can you observe the challenge directly and stay, resisting the need to run away? Can you observe it as it is without adding any story, any judgement, without blaming yourself and anyone else? Observing it as what is, a temporary experience.
Stay in your downward dog, feel the muscles burning, the deep stretch in your hamstrings, the quads contracting, the arms strong holding the weight of your body and stay. Feel the sweat, the muscles shaking and stay for another breath. Give all you have got and go through it all the way to the other side. What is the use of the pose if it doesn’t require your intention and full attention. Would your body get any benefit from it?
What would it be like if everything in your life goes exactly as you want it to be, exactly as expected? No surprises, no challenges, no discomfort. How would your present be if your life would have been like that in the past? Would you be the same person you are today? What is the use of a life that is easy and free from challenges?
Challenges makes us find new ways, be creative, develop tools and skills we will own for the rest of our lives. They help us develop our weaknesses, make us stronger and more resourceful. Most importantly, they force us to develop patience, which is essential in the spiritual path. We only grow when we face and overcome challenges. What is the use of a life that is completely easy and predictable? If there is challenge, there is growth.
Imagine when you are meditating. There will be sounds around you that will initially distract you. But the more you practice you will develop concentration and at some point you will get so focused that sounds will become part of the experience and won’t bother you anymore. If you had got rid of any sound in order to meditate, you wouldn’t have developed concentration. The noise is the challenge and it is required for you to grow in this practice.
Challenge is beneficial but we resist challenge and things not going as we want due to two key misbeliefs. The first one: We think that the experience will continue to unfold in the same direction. We subconsciously believe “If it is bad, unpleasant, painful now, it can only get worse”. We miss the real truth of life, which always moves in waves. We observe this in nature, in the waves going in one direction and then in a different one, we observe it in the wind, in the temperature changes, in the rising and setting of the sun. When in a challenging time, can you stay until it changes its direction? Observing without attachment to things being in a particular way, way you want it to be.
Secondly, we resist challenge because we are convinced that we know what the best way is. Seriously, do we? We seem to forget there is a much bigger intelligence, bigger and more knowledgeable than me, which takes care of everything in nature and in life. When in a challenging time, can I accept my knowledge is limited and accept and observe how life unfolds with an open heart and open mind, trusting in this superior consciousness that has always taken care of you?
Can you move from resisting life to surrendering to it, with Faith that your journey is moving in the right direction, although this might not be visible yet for our human mind.
Seeing life as a dance, where we are part of but not the center of. Doing my best and letting go of the results and the idea that things should be in a particular way. Accepting we are not in control. What a relief to get rid of the idea that I have to take care of everything that happens!
As the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, so my life unfolds. The only difference is that we don’t know the exact times for each experience in our lives. We are part of nature and a bigger dance which we don’t totally control. Can you trust the universal intelligence, which has always taken care of you?
What is the use of a pose if it doesn’t challenge you? Feel the burning and stay, feel the wobbliness and stay. If you fall, come back into the pose, find the stillness. What is the use of a life with no effort, no surprises and no challenges?
Show up in life the way you show up on your mat. Own your practice and your life. Give all you have with no fixed expectations.
If there is challenge there is growth.
I will do my best and let go of the results.
Trusting the superior intelligence and surrendering to it – Ishvara Pranidana.
With faith that my journey is unfolding just right - Shradda.
May this truth bring benefit to your life.
Claudia - Canvasmat Founder
If finding Happiness is a topic you are interested on, read my blog on how I learnt to develop Happiness in my life and understand my mother when she used to say "JUST BE HAPPY".
Yoga and meditation are the practices that helped me to develop a happier mind and heart. If you are planning to start this path you might be in need of a yoga mat that will become that special place where you develop and connect with this Joy within. You might also want to choose a high quality mat with designs that inspire peace and helps you relax. If you want something unique, check out my collection of Eco friendly yoga mats designed in Australia. They feature my original watercolour artwork.