Focus of the Month – Let it Be

 
“By cultivating an attitude of friendship toward those who are happy, compassion toward those in distress, joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are
non-virtuous, lucidity arises in the mind.
 
The practice of yoga teaches us far more important lessons than how to stand on our head or find balance in Tree Pose. This practice gives us tools to help us stand on our own two feet and find balance in our lives. At the core of these teachings is an understanding of our relationships with ourselves and others. The sutra quoted above is often referred to as the “lock and key” sutra, providing us with specific and practical ways to approach various types of relationships in order to maintain steadiness of mind.
Of all these “keys”, perhaps the most challenging to practice is that of equanimity toward those who are nonvirtuous. Equanimity can also be translated as evenness of temper or calmness of mind, a state that can be difficult to maintain when confronted by someone whose words or actions may be causing suffering to others. An important distinction to make here is that the practice of equanimity does not mean that we like or agree with everybody, nor does it imply that we become complicit in the face of oppression. However, i
t does suggest that we approach all situations from a place of clarity rather than allowing our own responses to be influenced by the negative, nonvirtuous qualitie
s of others. Until we can act from a place of happiness, compassion, or joy, we are directed to let it be. Otherwise, we risk succumbing to the very qualities against which we are trying to fight.
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do in a situation is nothing at all, but this is exactly what The Yoga Sutras tells us to do under certain circumstances. We begin this process on our mats, breathing calmly and evenly when faced with discomfort or frustration. With enough practice, we can hopefully translate these teachings off of our mats and into our relationships where they become truly invaluable. This month, notice how your practice translates into your life outside of the yoga studio and let’s collectively spread these teachings beyond the mat and into the world.
One Love, One Freedom