Concerns your relationship with the outer world.
When I first decided to commit to mysore a few months ago, as an academic, naturally rather than going to practice, I got my hands on a book and started reading. I came across the 8 limbs of Yoga and I want to talk a bit about the first one, Yama (ethics).
As I officially begin my mysore practice, and simultaneously getting settled into my new place, I am immediately confronted with a conflict… I had cockroaches. I’m not talking those little ones you can easily cohabitate with, I mean the big, 4 inch longs ones that hiss… in my toothbrush drawer. So what’s a yogi to do? Violate the first limb of yoga and maintain my home without 4-legged roommates, or try to be at peace with everything and resign? I procrastinated, decided, and bought one of those catch and release traps (it is still in the btw, if anyone wants it), and finally after one too many encounters, a friend convinced me that it was a righteous act of violence to poison the little guys as I am the home owner, “it’s your Darhma” he said… so poison baits went all around my house and it has been much quieter.
For me this limb is definitely a good guide to remind myself of how I would like to be, but I still sometimes struggle with the “cause no harm” a bit. Does this mean I should stop eating meat? But I love fish! One clear way I can work this limb is by reducing the emotional harm I cause to myself and to others. Self harm through bad habits, sleep deprivation, bad diet, negative self talk, and also my thoughts and words about others: criticism, gossip, anger, wishing ill will… maybe I can not say it, but how about if I don’t even think it? One I have become really aware of recently is shame. Our society uses shame a surprising amount. It’s a form of social control and it is incredibly toxic and harmful. It leaches over into our personal psyche and affects our happiness and success. If you find yourself thinking things like “I can’t do that pose, my body sucks” or “I can’t believe you are wearing that, it is so inappropriate” you are using shame. On a subconscious level you are smashing down the creative expression that is trying to bubble out of the soul. We are all guilty of this to some extent or another, but lets try to make each other better! The really enlightened Brene Brown has many lovely and funny things to say on this topic. She recently came out with an excellent audiobook on the topic. You can download it here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ptxwpvs91iibcyg/The%20Power%20of%20Vulnerability%3A%20Teachings%20of%20Authenticity%2C%20Connection%2C%20and%20Courage_1.m4a?dl=0
Overall I feel I am making progress, which is great. But a few days ago, a massive cockroach crawled up on my couch and started hissing at me… probably for killing his family… maybe that was his dharma ;P