4 Ways to Get Inspired
A friend told me the other day that she’s been feeling depressed. “I think it’s just this end of February stage I go through,” she said. “Just waiting around trying to make it through the end of winter. Well,” she paused. “It could also be that I just got laid off, the economy is in shambles, and we’re in the middle of a serious drought.”
This morning a bulldozer started digging up the ground 10 feet off the side of my house. They’re putting in yet another house on my street, which was once a forested oasis in the middle of the city. My first reaction was to cry. It was pretty sad to see the trees that I once enjoyed watch whispering in the breeze hit the ground with an unambiguous “thunk”. It’s sad to watch my garden (which, I admit, I illegally let creep into the neighboring lot) be dug up into a basement foundation.
But then my 4 year-old son came into my room, saw my state, and said, “Mommy, don’t worry, that bulldozer won’t dig all the way down to where the volcano fires are.”
my mind after the bulldozer
In all these years of studying and practicing yoga and meditation, I still have much to learn (mostly from a 4 year-old, it would appear) about non-attachment in troubling times.
And so here we find ourselves, collectively and perhaps individually in the middle of quite interesting times. There has been an economic downturn, or maybe “landslide” would be a better word choice there. And there’s a panic pulsing through the vibrational fields of the powers that be, mostly stemming from the worry that people will stop shopping.
Shopping. People need to keep shopping they say. Um, excuse me, are you serious? Is shopping really going to save us? Shopping?
When you can’t go outward for satisfaction, there is no choice but to turn within. And this is where the opportunity lies.
And with this in mind, there are many things to feel inspired about. How about starting that meditation practice you’ve always wanted to have? How about volunteering for that community organization you’ve always been interested in? Many opportunities for inspiration.
And many ways to get there when you’re not feeling the magic…
Here are 4 yogic tools you can use to get inspired:
1. The Play is the Thing
In yoga, the cosmic play is called “Liila.” The idea is that everything that happens to you is part of a great big soap-opera drama.
I’m sure you have had something “bad” happen to you – like losing your job, ending a relationship with someone you thought was your soul-mate, or even banging up your car. Six months later you have a much more fulfilling job, you found someone who makes you realize that you were using the term “soul-mate” rather loosely, or your lack of a vehicle has helped you walk more and get in shape. We all have had experiences like this.
So, the technique is to remember, when you’re in the middle of something that seems like an irreversible tragedy, that you never know what will happen next in the play, and often, if you simply commit yourself to optimism, to trusting in your divine Source, and to doing the right thing, you will be pleasantly surprised. This stance will put you into a state that yogis call “rasa liila” or going with the flow of the divine play.
2. Incorrigible Optimism
Commit yourself to an incorrigibly optimistic attitude. This is not to be confused with rose-colored glasses syndrome or a superficial tendency to repeat “It’s all good” all day long. Optimism is a state of mind of trusting the universe and understanding that no matter what happens, you are always being guided and supported.
“You are never alone or helpless, the force that guides the stars guides you too.”
Bad things do happen to good people – including ourselves. We need compassion and empathy for ourselves and others and we also need to support ourselves and others in every way we can when we are in the middle of a trying time. However, succumbing to a state of despair is a bottomless pit. Hope is a tender petal on the flower of the heart chakra. (And that’s not a metaphor – It’s tantric microcosmology!) Find what nurtures the hope in your heart and feed it. And here’s a big secret: a regular asana practice will help you stay optimistic!
3. Satsaunga (Keeping Good Company)
“Sat” means “true”, “honest”, “inspiring” and “saunga” means “community.” Who are the people that inspire you and are you spending enough time with them?
Life is busy for everyone – but that doesn’t have to be an excuse to neglect yourself. Have a monthly potluck where you invite people who like to meditate and do it together before your meal. Or have a sharing circle and perform your favorite low-key ritual, group hug or Om. Start a weekly yoga get-together at your house. Join a meditation group.
There are so many ways to make satsaunga happen, but if we only invite our computer, it won’t.
This is the easiest and perhaps best way to recapture the magic. If you’re shy, in the shower with you!
What music inspires you? Are you into kirtan? Then put on some Krishna Das or Deva Premal and sing along. Repeated phrases create a groove of positive vibration in your nervous system. This is yogic vibrational medicine. But it can be any kind of inspiring music – it has to inspire YOU. Sing in the car, while you’re cooking. Listen while you’re working, or when you get up in the morning. Singing changes your vibration quickly and can give you back the clarity and focus you need to feel inspired and positive.