Recently I have noticed that for the past few weeks my breath, my prana, has become stuck in my body. It no longer moves or initiates movement either on the off the mat. As I have come to notice this tendency, I have noticed that I have been holding on to other things as well – feelings of anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, grief, and disappointment.
By nature (or nurture) I tend to rarely reacts in an external manner to the things that affect me. More often than not, when something happens – especially those things that piss me off – I tend to turn inward. Inside I fume and create a list of all the ways in which I am “right” and the other person or situation is “wrong.”
And while one could think that there is nothing wrong with this strategy – i.e. because there aren’t words spoken that can never be unspoken, dishes that can’t be unbroken, or clothes that can be un-destroyed – I am finding that there is often an unexpected cost of this coping mechanism. For in short, in turing inward, in creating a list of all the ways I am “right” and the other person is “wrong,” I am in short creating a list of all the differences between myself and the other. Over time, this list of differences creates distance not only between me and the other, but also between me and similar others. Eventually, this sense of separation spreads, like an epidemic, making me isolated from the rest of the world to the point that I feel angry, sad, and alone.
And while I get that to avoid this sense of difference, I need to forgive the other person, let go of whatever resentment or anger I may be holding on to, and move on with life – I’ve noticed recently that there is a sense of resistance within me towards taking that step. That resistance is the single thought, “I am right.” And by adhering to that thought, I soon become distant, separate, and different from everything and everyone – including me and my own breath.
These sobering thoughts lead the way to another that I have begun to rely upon for the past few days as a means of moving on and forward and the question/thought is a very simple one: Would you rather? Specifically “Would you rather be “right” or would you rather be free?” Would you rather be “right” or would you rather be loved? Would you rather be “right” or would you rather feel connected?
These statements don’t motivate me to forgive another because “it’s the right thing to do” or my spiritual evolution is on the line, but instead encourage me to realize that in letting go of something, in this case my need to be “right,” I am instead choosing my freedom, my life, my light, my joy, and my breath!
The question, the invitation, I have for you, the same question I am asking of myself is, “What are you continuing to hold onto even though logically you know you need to let it go? And would you rather continue to hold on to this thing, and your sense of “rightness” or would you rather be free?
This holding could be the area of your intimate relationships where a sense of disappointment has created distance; maybe its a sense of attachment towards a particular idea or way of doing things within the work space; or perhaps you struggle to relinquish particular ideas about your body and your asana practice. Whatever it is, the question is, I invite you to take a deep breath in and ask yourself “Would you rather be right or rather be free?”