But what I forgot to mention in my video message is in this “plane of possibility,” we are all one!  There is no separation. Again, I am sharing the wisdom of neuropsychologist, Dr. Daniel Siegel, who went so far as to quote Einstein, “the biggest illusion is to think we are separate.” However, I will take this a step further and say that what makes me “me” and what makes you “you” are the paths we’ve chosen from this plane of possibility. So, I look and act like “me” and you look and act like “you.” Pretty cool right?

Referring to our yoga practice, once we’ve disengaged from that certain mind and are in the realm of this plane of possibility, we can redesign who we are! What a great metaphor the yoga room is for living. No matter our age, religion, skin color, profession, income, or zip code we live in, we are stripped down to essentials, bouncing information to and from our own reflection in the mirror, only to come out feeling better just because we reconnected to Self. My life may look way different than yours, but you and I are in this together. We are unified by the process.

Connection and Self

Mind by Dr. Daniel SiegelOkay, maybe this a bit too deep. My enthusiasm comes from the fact that scientists are now proving what many of us at BYSJ, and as yogis, have learned from experience. In fact, Dr. Daniel Siegel took it a step further. The mind may be defined as a “change in energy,” but the mind only exists in relationship to someone else! In other words, there must be connection. The book, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, goes more in depth, but I will borrow this: through connection we can recognize differences. This leads to integration of the individual (claiming our uniqueness), but only in conjunction with and in contrast to the integration of a greater whole of which we are all members. If this is true, then Siegel’s proven how what we do individually affects who we are collectively.

As yogis, this may not come as much of a surprise. Indeed, as Jessica and I were sitting in the audience at the lecture, we immediately knew this to be true. Just take the yoga room as an example, with many of us practicing with each other day after day. All it takes is your peer to fall out of a pose and you, too, feel the instability or vice versa: your neighbor holds Standing Bow strongly, and you too feel that force of power. As teachers, we feel and watch this on the podium: sometimes, when even one person leaves the room, the energy shift intensely as if everyone has left! Powerful stuff!

Compassion Heals

HeartThere are so many take-aways from this lecture. Dr. Siegel, however left us with one to linger and ponder as we ended the evening. He referenced a study that was done on over 100 cases of individuals having colds. To one group, they simply remedied the situation with aspirin and rest. The other group received compassion, which looked like this, “I’m sorry that you feel this way. It must be frustrating that you have a cold during this busy time in your life,” (or other subjective words that related to the situation of the individual.) The result was the group cared for with compassion and empathy got better quicker.

In the Holiday Spirit

Michele teaching 8 AM

Michele teaching 8 AM Saturday class, showing presence!

It’s the holiday season. I started my own little campaign on Facebook reclaiming the spirit of the holidays. I find it amusing that Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season- a holiday that’s intended to roll out more gratitude and appreciation. Instead, $655 billion will be spent on stuff between Thanksgiving and Christmas, most of which becomes long-term debt. Ugh! Reclaim the holiday and occupy this glorious time of year with presence not presents. Use your yoga-discipline to exercise patience and presence and maybe this can be your most meaningful holiday season yet! After all, according to Dr. Siegel and hundreds of other scientists, presence is how we align with our source giving us individual and collective satisfaction and JOY!

Wishing you and your family and friends a happy and healthy holiday season!

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