Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A yoga sutra....

Sutra literally means "truth" and I truly learned one today.

I posted recently about a health scare I had and how I dealt with it.

I did:

lean on friends
read scriptures

I did not use the following crutches:


In fact, using those things never crossed my mind. It's not like I thought "Damn, I feel awful, this is so sad, I deserve a smoke, ice cream, chips, a bottle of wine, and an extra xanax." Nope, those thoughts never, ever even had to be dealt with, they didn't pop up.

So, I mention this to my trainer yesterday. Uhm, yeah...mistake. Want to guess what she went to immediately? 

"You smoke? You've never told me that. Don't you think you should have? I think I should have had that information."

I felt about THIS small!
Home, nursing a righteous sense of butt-hurt, reading my Yoga Sutras by Pantanjali  and I come to a passage about things that hold us back on our spiritual path - not necessarily sins or wrongs, but just things. Samaskaras, or impressions of wrong doing, hold us back as much as the thing itself. It's as if we've committed to doing right, but then we hold back a bit of longing for whatever hinders us; we look over our shoulder wishing we could go back for just a bit, but knowing we can't.

Then I got it.

Smoking is a samaskara and I encourage that by having my secret stashes - oh, I'm NOT going to use those stashes. Or am I? If not, then why are they there? What is my intention?

So I go to throw them out. First stash, gone. Second stash, gone. Third stash - hesitation. Now wait, this is a WHOLE UNOPENED pack, maybe I should keep this one, just in case...

Just in case...what?

Then I knew I was doing the right thing.

What other samaskaras lurk in my heart? What other changes have I made, but secretly wish I hadn't? What other small bits of regret have buried themselves deep down, so deep that maybe they only come up to the surface on occasion?

They need to be tossed out too.

What about you? Maybe smoking was never your issue, okay, that's good. But what was? What do you look back on with pleasure, mulling about how awesome of a time you had, and how sad it is that those times are gone?  That longing holds you back on your personal path. Pull those issues into the light of day, discard them, and move on.

You'll be happy you did.


Thoughts to take with me today: 'I honor the place in you where your spirit dwells. If you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, then in that place, we are one.'



  1. We discard things we don't need anymore. As I have achieved my recovery, some habits, attitudes, and behaviors just weren't necessary to get me through life. I used to binge but now I don't need to do that anymore. I used to smoke but quit a long time ago. I am a lot more peaceful as I go at this for the third time. Take care.

    1. I'll bet you don't keep smokes around 'just in case' do you?

      Healthy habits are good ones.

      be well!

  2. I smoked (in college/grad school and for a while afterwards) but quit right before I got married (almost 21 years ago.) If I hadn't quit then, I'm sure that holding my dad when he died six years later - at age 57- from metastatic lung cancer would have given me the final push I needed. I found quitting smoking relatively easy, but I find that learning how to have a healthy relationship with food has been incredibly painful and difficult. I think your point about intentions is well-taken: if I buy a gallon of ice cream (and my husband and kids will not notice if I do or don't buy it, mind you) my intention must be to eat it - or to have it available if I 'need' it - which I suppose means I must not think I have other resources available to me when I start to 'need' something. My problem is that I can eat too many raisins, or yogurts, or string cheeses just as easily in order to 'fill the space.' I almost wish alcohol or cigarettes or drugs *were* my issues, because I wouldn't need to have any in the house. Thanks for this. I probably need to do some more thinking about it.