Original post November 2011
Without this gratitude, no matter what you practice – on your mat or meditation cushion – you will always be a little sour inside. With it, the very same practice takes on a sweetness and that sweetness lingers throughout the day. ~Donna Farhi
In a conversation this week I asked a student how things were going for her since attending our yoga and meditation retreat a few weeks ago. She shared that she frequently reminds herself of something she heard on retreat that “comparison is suffering.” We chuckled in agreement about how incredibly easy it is for the mind to look at others and be certain that we are not quite measuring up. That whatever we have or don’t have will never be quite as good as what “they” have or don’t have. Her honesty was a gentle reminder to me that the discontent and dissatisfaction I often feel is in truth, universal. Of course we need our the minds to decipher, judge and sort information. Our suffering however comes when the mind is in overdrive, running the show, and judging much more than is useful.
In my experience the surest way to pull myself out of the spiral of comparing and self-judging is to be grateful. In an instant, when I turn my attention to being grateful for something I am suddenly present. The internal critic simply doesn’t stand a chance in the space of gratitude. I love what Donna Farhi says about bringing a spirit of gratitude to our yoga practice. Beginning our time on the mat this way opens us to a kind of sweetness within ourselves. It gets our heads out of the way so that we can be present, the only place true contentment resides.
Thanksgiving is coming, a holiday to take pause and consider the extraordinary circumstances of our lives. We’ve posted a Gratitude Board in the Lila lobby as an invitation to you to pause, reflect and share something for which you are grateful everyday this month. Every time you share you’ll feel a little warmth inside, a sweetness that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your day. Over the month we’ll watch the gratitude grow and together we’ll be inspired by the beauty of our lives, our community and the world we share.