How to Find Balance When Your Feelings Are Hurt

The universe is the ultimate compassionate teacher. It lovingly makes sure that we walk the talk and serve to our utmost by presenting us with many life lessons that support our growth.

Yet we so often lose touch with this compassion, and get stuck in emotional pain. How do we feel the unconditional love of the universe when someone acts hurtfully toward us? It begins by being willing to go within and take stock of what our hurt feelings reveal. Here is an example.

Someone had done something I found particularly hurtful. Unsure how to respond, I meditated for some time and then prayerfully asked for guidance on the situation. I pulled a guidance card (like an angel card), which read: “Today I identify some of the behaviours that create obstacles to my spiritual growth.”

My mind wanted to dismiss the card as a mistake. Surely the other person was at fault. Then I decided that the card was telling me that the other person was the obstacle to my path. My ego went on a little journey trying to blame and avoid seeing my part in the incident. Luckily, that only went so far. I caught myself starting to feel like a victim. I know that any sense that life is “happening to me” is unreal, a delusional manufacturing of the ego in order to sustain itself. Having checked my ego and its antics, I was left with the need to look at myself more deeply and discover what the situation was teaching me. So I went within and considered how I was choosing to perceive life. I asked myself, “was I living in unattached truthfulness? Or was I validating my assumptions for ego gratification?”

WHY WERE MY FEELINGS HURT?

I discovered that some of my core beliefs needed revision. I was holding onto a perception that I was powerless in some areas of my life. In seeing this, my immediate reaction was self-disgust. “What, me? No way!” passed through my mind, as my ego found the idea of powerlessness intolerable. But as I relaxed in the face of what I perceived to be an ugly beast within me, I came to meet no monster. I found instead a broken, lamb-like little girl who needed my loving attention and care. My heart softened and I opened to her.

As I listened to the stories the child had to tell, I was asked to welcome my own feelings as they were, right then and there. I sat with them all in presence, without the need to fix, judge, push or pull at what was. I said to myself, “So it is. So it is,” and breathed myself into greater wholeness. With this newfound inner space, self-compassion arose effortlessly. In its sweetness, an inner fight melted away.

Welcoming this broken inner child into my heart by accepting her as I found her, I started to feel that a disowned part of me was being brought home. I became more whole. Through this, the energy that had been caught up in my outdated beliefs was set free to in more creative and healthy ways.

I rested in what I know to be true: I am no victim in life. No one has power over me unless I give it to them. Then I had the a-ha moment that was my healing breakthrough. The painful encounter with this person was caused by my finding her expression of feeling incapable and powerless to be intolerable. My perception was the obstacle that the card had highlighted!

My choice to perceive myself as powerless had been reflected back to me in the painful situation. I was brought face to face with what the spiritual master Amma teaches as one of the essential steps for spiritual growth: “If someone is doing something that you find really offensive, check to see whether you are doing something similar to someone else or yourself.”

I came to see that I had been uncomfortable and triggered by the other person’s painful actions because I had not yet accepted ways in which I too was similarly suffering deep down. Though this person’s behaviour was technically hurtful, I only felt hurt because I identified in that moment with being small and disconnected.

The encounter with someone in pain highlighted the ways in which I was attached to the small “me”, busy defending the passing and the temporal as I mistook it for my true infinite nature. So I suffered. If I had been able to be more present and see more clearly in the moment of the exchange – and not through the lens of my preconceptions, wounds and core beliefs – I would have only seen a broken person expressing her own feeling of powerlessness, rather than someone who was doing something “to” me.

HEALING HURT FEELINGS BEGINS WITH UNDERSTANDING THE OPPORTUNITY

I am humbled and empowered in knowing that I am still learning to meet this moment with equanimity and compassion, rather than with judgment or prejudice. I can now feel gratitude for the person whose actions I found so offensive, who I felt was so “wrong”. That person was acting out unconscious pain, her own unseen, broken parts she too had disowned and will someday be called to integrate, love and heal through presence. This person was not only a clear mirror to my own pain, but a teacher in showing me how to love the world and myself beyond condition.

Hurt feelings are not something to “fix”, “forget” or “get over”, but to understand. For most of us, it can be a knee-jerk tendency to say to ourselves “I don’t want to feel that”, and either tuck uncomfortable emotions away somewhere convenient (like in a tense neck, shoulders or belly) or attempt to splatter them all over another person or thing we want to discard. Unconsciously justifying our avoidance in dread that life circumstances will prove our deep fears true, it is easy to turn a blind eye to what we don’t want to see. Yet when we resist the moment, we miss the opportunity to meet our true self, beyond perceptions.

Our commitment to personal growth and healing is actually the most potent form of ecology. Peace on Earth begins with each one of us developing ease of being and inner peace. That is why all aspects of the work at Parvati.org, the nonprofit I founded, to realize MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, revolve around our Global Education Strategy (GES). This strategy creates lasting transformation in the way we all see ourselves, each other, and Nature. It generates the international momentum for MAPS at the speed required, so that we can all live in a cool and healthy world with the food and resources we need to survive.

The universe gives us daily gifts—some painful, some joyful—that teach us how to free ourselves from our limited perceptions and be present for what really is. When we do so, we flower into a love that knows we are one. And we give back to the universe out of compassion for all beings.

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WHY YOGA IN THE NIGHTCLUB

I am often asked what inspired me to bring yogic expression into the club scene. I answer easily. Yoga In the Nightclub is a natural expression of who I am as a musical artist and dedicated yogini. Yoga is not a physical practice but a way of life. It is about learning to be present in all one does, to see the divine here, now, in this moment. As such, yoga is everywhere. It is about feeling connected to something much greater than our limited ego or will. It is about being in service to life, feeling interconnected to that very life force. Yoga In The Nightclub is a celebration of life and a reminder that we can find awakened presence everywhere.

Yoga in the West is mostly known as a series of bendy physical exercises. Yet there is much more to it than fitness. Yoga’s systematic breath and body exercises, designed to clear the subtle channels in our energy system, prepare us for meditation, through which we may experience a life inspired by our interconnected, multidimensional true nature. Our body, that once was seen as “mine”, is no longer our identity, but a gift on loan from the divine. We care for it, but we are not attached to it. The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to experience the transmutation of matter into pure light, embody the multidimensional and rest in the eternal.

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WE ARE ALL CONNECTED

Hatha yoga, the physical practice of yoga, is just one of many aspects of yoga, which range from selfless service to astrology and prayer. The Sanskrit word “yoga” most simply translates to “union”, implying that the practice of any yoga will bring together our perceived sense of separateness. As a whole, yoga is an ancient science of life. It is a practical method of shedding excess and bringing us back from the self-delusion of separation from the divine so that we may realize our inherent interconnection to and ultimate oneness with it.

As we begin to understand that yoga is everywhere, we come to see how we are all connected in vast ways far beyond the limitations of our personal will and ego. What I do affects you, and vice versa. We are one earth family. At the heart of it all, we share the same heartbeat. Breathe to be. We are one.

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AWAKENED LIVING

When we are open, life blossoms, just as a flower opens to welcome the morning sun.  We see that the sun, though it is millions of light years away, has a tender yet powerful relationship with the flower, as do the rain and the clouds. From this perspective we see that we are part of the whole. Life is a symphonic masterpiece with which, when we are open, we are completely resonant.

As we come to understand our oneness, we can revel in it with wonder and joy. We can consider in awe how immense it all is. We can let go of the idea that an illusory, isolated sense of self could possibly be in control, and open to an exquisite unfolding of life in absolute perfection. Our actions become not about “me” but about the whole. Each moment is integrated within the whole. No one decision is separate.

When we begin to see that each decision we make affects not just ourselves but everyone and everything on the planet, we act with more compassion. When we have more compassion, we realize the impact of our actions and we naturally want less and practice more kindness. As stewards of the Earth, we each are called to learn to live in harmony with ourselves, each other and our planet. We all breathe the same air and live on the same living organism, our planet. Varied in race and creed, we are all one family, children of the same mother, the planet Earth.

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THE OPPORTUNITY FOR GRACE

In each moment, there is infinite grace. By becoming more conscious as we practice yoga on the mat, at work, at play or in the nightclub, we let go of the unnecessary and develop greater internal spaciousness which blooms throughout our lives. In this space new life and possibilities arise.

As we rest our awareness on the simple purity and grace of the breath, we realize - we are alive! We let go of wanting things from the future and the past and open to what is here and now. We feel as vast as the sky and rooted in the richness of this moment.

When we “breathe to be”, we understand our interconnection. We see that we are not the doers but a part of the whole, the same energy that is in the flowers and in the stars. We know that our essence is divine - from which we have come, to which we return.

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PARVATI'S NEW SINGLE - MARCH 2016
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I AM LIGHT

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I am light!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gone, gone beyond. Oh what awakening!
Gone, gone beyond. Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi swaha
I am the light, liquid gold light
I am in delight! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!
I am light, in delight!
I am light, dancing through the night!

I am the light (gate gate), liquid gold light (paragate)
I am in delight (gate gate) transforming the night (paragate)

Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Oh what awakening! (paragate) (I am)
Gone, gone beyond (gate gate)! Swaha!

I am light, dancing in delight
I am light, dancing through the night
I am light, in delight
I am light, dancing through the night

I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (gate gate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light (paragate)
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light, I am light

I am light!

© 2015 Parvati Devi
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