Hi readers! I was inspired to write this post about the concept of Random Acts of Kindness, sort of a catch-all phrase most often associated with a vague suggestion to do a good deed or something like that. What I now fully understand is that this concept can be quite profound. Allow me to explain…
I have been practicing yoga for many years now, well over 10 and just shy of 20, with an ebb and flow in my practice that I am sure many of us can relate to. And in this time I have been in some very crowded classes with some extraordinarily popular teachers. Sometimes these classes are nothing short of electrifying. The energy in the room is so overwhelmingly positive. People are full of focus, dedication and power, its almost as if you could see the warmth and enthusiasm bubbling out from the person next to you. The collective energy is harnessed in a way that is not oppressive or intimidating. It is infectious and inspiring. Sometimes these classes are quite the opposite. People push, shove, use harsh tones and are unforgiving, unkind and plain rude. How can the same circumstances be so drastically different?
Enter random acts…
Yoga is only yoga if we (yes – you and me) create an environment where individuals (like yourself, or like me) choose not to act selfishly and unkindly, but instead act to honor our potential for the extraordinary.
Move your mat one inch to the right or the left to make space for other practitioners. Never have I seen such a small act become such a major event! Just imagine that instead of begrudgingly moving your mat after being asked countless times to do so, you did it on your own, because you wanted to. Because it would be awesome to do something nice for someone else.
Wow. One random act like moving your mat in a crowded class begins to create energy like the amazing electrifying class versus the pushy-shovy kind of class.
One day you will move your mat over because that kind of consideration is just a small portion of the beautiful person you really are. This random act is not a chore and it has no negative effect on your practice. In fact, acting from kindness and consideration elevates your practice. Your mind and body are becoming integrated: you think and feel peace and serenity, therefore your actions exemplify that connection.
Lets stay away from the obvious triggers here…Yes classes that are overcrowded can be dangerous…Yes it is important to arrive on time…Yes of course you made an effort to secure your favorite spot where you know you can use the wall/see yourself/that’s-my-spot/whatever. What if everyone was on time and there is still a need to move your mat? What if every spot in the room was your favorite? With no attachment to any one spot, you are free to feel wonderful anywhere in the room! This is because you know happiness is from within and not based on your spot in the room. What liberation! That is what a random act can bring you…if you let it.
Try it and see! Do something nice for someone, move your mat one inch and make room for someone else. Pretty soon it wont be so random, it will just be you being You.
“It is the truth we ourselves speak rather than the treatment we receive that heals us.” M. Hobart Mowrer (1966)
“Things do not change. We change.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden