One of my all-time favorite books is called “Love’s Executioner.” 9 tales told from an established therapist written from the raw point of view on the mistakes that he made with these nine clients. I found it fascinating. The first story in particular carried a profound lesson.
His client, Rosie, fell in love with one of her past therapists. While married, she could not get past the love that she felt for this therapist even though it was several years ago. She was in a state of depression each day. For the writer, he had to untangle the mess made from one of his peers to help this now client of his. He felt his own anger as this is the highest of unethical practices in his field. In time, the chance was there to meet up with this past therapist and the two could finally make closure on this situation that has held her back. The therapist would apologize. She could move on. Unfortunately to the writer’s surprise, the act of getting together worked out great but the end result made his client even more depressed. To Rosie, it was the one thing in her life that woke her up each day that gave her some joy as she reminisced about her time with this man. Now, that joy, regardless of the form it took was gone. The therapist realized that he did not do his work properly. He did nothing to guide her into what might replace that false sense of happiness. Her “injury” governed her entire life for years preventing her from experiencing real happiness.
Chris Powell of Extreme Makeover is an absolute angel. I don’t know if you watch shows on TV but I’ve caught a few two hour episodes on Sunday night – I’ve been glued to the TV and I’ve always cried at the end. The regime and support systems Chris gives to these individual clients that he sees for one full year is worthy to winning a Nobel Peace Prize. He may not have developed a cure for cancer but he has created a life-saving system to anyone who has lost their way with weight.
Mary weighed 385 lbs. As a chosen client, she must stay with Chris under his strict rules, eating and exercising for the first 3 months. The weight lost in this first phase is usually quite big. It’s the 2nd phase where things get rough and interesting. These 6 months, the client is on their own at home, the living room now a work-out room with the daily workouts set by Chris and the kitchen is now a place to practice all the recipes learned from the first three months. Shortly we begin to see that despite all Mary is doing, the diet and the exercise, she stops losing the weight Chris expects. Chris is stumped. Mary is depressed. Mary sees a therapist who helps to reveal that Mary’s obsession with food comes from her upbringing on a farm. She was an only child and her parents were emotionally distant. To prevent from feeling the pain of loneliness as a child, she turned to food. Her unconscious mind said, “food = no loneliness. No food = loneliness.” The good food and exercise weren’t going to be of much service to her until she dismantled this “injury.” Unlike Rosie in our therapy example, Chris already had Mary feeling good about herself with the amount of weight she had lost in the first 3 months. She had a great husband and child and could see now that this fear of loneliness doesn’t exist NOW!
Yogis, I bring this up because we all have them, “injuries”. I once heard that our injuries as I am calling them can be ultimately sized up in one of two categories: Fear of abandonment OR fear of not being enough. Yep. Those two are huge! But, here is the yogi spin on all this:
Each morning I meditate at least 20 if not 30 minutes. Don’t worry if you find it hard to do so yourself. I had the hardest time for years but I believe that thanks to my yoga, I’ve evolved to this place. You might too. I read excerpts from certain books first and one of them is literally a book I have re-read over and over again each year every day. It’s called “Angel Wisdom.”
In it, sins are defined as a choice we make to remove ourselves from higher consciousness. “Sins are an imbalancing action that favors our own egos and pleasure at the expense of the highest good of all,” as written in Angel Wisdom. Respectfully, I am going to take a leap here and fill in “sin” with “injury.” Our “injuries” which we all have, remove us from our highest good as we act in favor of the ego. Rosie and Mary are perfect examples of making the choice to move out of higher levels of living to one controlled by an ego force. There is no blame, no shame, no judgment here. We all make these choices. It’s part of our beautiful human experience and perhaps our holy grail to discover.
Gandhi believed that the most damaging aspect of “sin” or “Injury” is not the action itself, but the emptiness of an existence that has rejected higher consciousness. I love that! Yogis, if you can’t comprehend this, read it over again until you do. It is quite profound and a message to retain. It is my belief that we all come to the yoga room having removed a part of ourselves from higher living. There is an “emptiness of an existence.” Our injury has stolen something from us and somewhere within we know it and want it back.
The yoga room doesn’t have therapists or Chris Powell. It has something better, mirrors! Bikram often calls the mirrors your “cosmic consciousness.” The mirror is the reflection of your real self. It is your most useful tool to see and own the truth of who you are. It’s there in front of that mirror that you learn with repetition day after day how to be and how to feel in your own body. 90 minutes of constant practice to build a mind body connection, feeling your hands clasp together, reminding your mind to tell your leg to lock the knee, are exercises on living in the moment, being present, in the NOW. Long enough and you will notice habitual behavior patterns that don’t serve you NOW to include those “injuries” created by the ego. Because the mirror is assisting you in understanding who you are compassionately, you are building up self-esteem, self-satisfaction, self-appreciation empowering higher levels of living, higher levels of consciousness. This allows your mind constructs, acts in behavior to be safely challenged as your understanding and love for yourself improves. Like Chris Powell, this is worthy of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. While not a cure for cancer, you have saved the most important life you have – yours!
There is a great scene in the latest Batman movie, Dark Knight Rises. Batman is left to live in a cave like pit deep in the middle of a desert filled with prisoners after having been badly beaten with a broken back while Gotham city, his home, is destroyed and ruled by the evils of his nemesis. He is determined to heal his body and be one of only two that make the climb out of this pit and go save his city and the world. He succeeds in physically overcoming the wounds on his body to include his back and gains amazing strength with his work out discipline. But, with rope tied to his waist, twice he tries to make the climb up the pit only to fail and fall back to where he started. Determined to not give up, Batman finally sought the advice of his wise prison cell mate, who had rejected the idea that more strength was the way up the pit. To his cellmate, it was fear that held him back. His advice: “Let go of the rope.” Of course, Batman rises successfully without a rope then goes on to save his life, his city and the world. While exaggerated in this comic book story, the moral lies clear. When we let go of the rope, we are letting go of the “injury” and rise to greater heights in our being (save your life) and in the process we elevate those around us (save our world). We are not held hostage to a world conformed by fear as the ego dictates, but free to live impeccably (which literally means to live “without sin” OR “without injury.”)
It’s September. There is a spirit of learning of continuing education as kids go back to school. Use this energy to propel yourself to learn to live free of an “injury” and instead live with integrity, commit to excellence and in greater harmony with the laws of the Universe!