Think, and think again.
During the second immersion, while we were discussing the effects of yoga on our everyday lives, I said something flippant like, “I feel grateful all the time, I hardly need a gratitude practice.” I regret that it came out that way. I meant to say that I didn’t need to “overeffort,” to will myself to be grateful.
Then, back in April, I had the good fortune of attending a free 90 teleseminar with Brené Brown, “The Anatomy of Joy,” cosponsored by Omega and Sounds True. Among the many things associated with the Anatomy of Joy was maintaining a gratitude practice. I felt sheepish and thought I’d give it another look. Since that weekend, I have been using the whiteboard on the fridge each day to record something for which I am grateful. Today I noticed on the online registration system that I have two more students for my summer course, so I am inching closer to having enough enrollment for it to run. In addition to being partial to paying the mortgage, I really do like this course, especially with what’s been going on in the country and in the world. So I made that part of my gratitude practice today.
Over the weekend, I introduced my son to the joys of salad with a topping of “munch mix,” a packaged variety of sprouted lentils, adzuki beans and peas. He added to the white board that he was grateful for munch mix. Then my daughter’s friend added to the white board that he was grateful for “fried beans.” (He was just exercising sarcasm, but it does show he’s paid attention to the practice.) Today, as you can see, my daughter added “Papa driving me!” She was feeling under the weather and needed to run an errand uptown, so I obliged.
I think if we looked as closely as this at our other practices, we would discover the positive ways in which they affect other people. It’s taken more than six weeks of this simple daily practice to get to this incremental change in others, and I was just looking to improve myself. How much more imperceptibly, on an everyday basis, might our practices like asana, meditation, conscious eating, and efforts to observe the yamas and niyamas, change things for the better? This can happen immediately around us and beyond, like ripples in a pond. As this little exercise was so quickly and clearly heartwarming, I’d say it was worth the tapas to find out.