Cultivate Compassion to Tame the Ego

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By cultivating friendliness towards happiness and compassion towards misery, gladness towards virtue and indifference towards the wicked the mind becomes pure. ~ Yoga Sutra 1:33

Consider this:

  • A yoga teacher gets a better time slot than you and her class is full when you  arrive to teach the next class.  No one asked you if you’d like the slot and you’ve been teaching at the studio longer…how do you respond?

…The ego loves to feel sorry for itself, loves to make excuses, loves to compare, and is jealous of other’s happiness…

  • A homeless drug addict lives in a tent on the beach, he’s known for stealing, bullying and harming others..

…The ego hates, is disgusted, petrified, and proud that it is better, more humane, more decent…

  • Your friend has been blessed with two beautiful children and is pregnant with another…she is beautiful and in your mind a perfect mother.  You have wanted a baby for a long time but your partner isn’t ready.

…The ego is not joyful that she’s pregnant again, instead the ego is jealous…she already has two and you have none!

  • Someone has it out for you, they just don’t like you and they never did.  There is nothing you can do to make this person like you and they are always finding ways to drag you down, via gossip, text messages, and on those rare occasions when you are around one another, with their attitude.

…The ego may try to kill with kindness out of spite, fuel the fire, and give back a taste of the medicine…

Why is it so hard to truly be content for another when they have been given a great opportunity?  I believe it is because we place too high of a demand on what we consider to be success.  We tend to make excuses to not be compassionate and feed ourselves with lies. We  develop a superiority complex and try to impose our values on others. Although the homeless man is living in misery, why are we not always compassionate towards this situation?

Every day we deal with the ups and downs of life, the constant pull of the need to control not only ourselves but others and their situations. It seems that the ego thinks it’s got it all figured out, every response justified no matter how cruel. I am always amazed by the power of the human mind to rationalize thoughts that we know are wrong and unmerited.

The Yoga Sutras can keep us in check, on track and call us to examine ourselves. Let us practice, meditate, pray and strive to have a pure mind, especially in our relationships with others by “cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil...”  (Yoga Sutra 1:33).

One way to accomplish this is by taking a moment whenever we feel the ego grow dispassionate to own our feelings and then release them. One can also recite the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

God help us in our journey.

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lisa Sochocki from Haleiwa, Hawaii.  Her motto is, “Be the light, to light the world.” Lisa’s motto runs true to her actions and spirit, living the life of a yogini filled with love and abundance. With 17 years of yoga experience and 11 years as a devoted Yoga Instructor, Lisa decided to make spreading yoga not only her passion, but her full-time job. Lisa is the Owner of Yoga Loft Hawaii  and Hawaii School of Yoga, where she spends her days diffusing yoga love into the Oahu community.

Visit Lisa’s website at YogaLoftHawaii.comHawaiiSchoolOfYoga.com read her Tumblr Blog, or connect with her via Facebook and Instagram.

Photo credit: Camillia Lee

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