By Sangeetha Saran
All of us go through times when we feel overwhelmed by the trauma, stress, or loss in our lives. What makes one person persevere and overcome obstacles while another gives up at the first hint of failure? Many Yoga classes are filled with students who are developing the inner strength to deal with stress. Chances are that it is not the stressful circumstances, but the way we react to them and the solutions we discover that determine the outcome. While each of us is born with certain personality traits, we can learn from Yoga and meditation to be more resilient by embracing new opportunities, being open to challenges, and learning from our mistakes.
Our life experiences, our circumstances, and our belief systems partially determine our ability to bounce back from adversity, and we have little control over some of these factors. However, our inner strength, or resilience, is a different story. We determine how we want to interpret the events in our lives, and our emotional state is a result of those decisions. Fortunately, we can learn the skills necessary to deal with change, and one of these is meditation.
Meditation helps to build resiliency and release inner strength in several ways:
• It gives us a sense of connectedness and helps us detach from the fear of loss or pain.
• It opens the heart and brings a sense of freedom.
• It helps us to see trauma and loss as part of a purification process.
• It encourages perseverance and dedication.
• It builds compassion and awareness.
• It enables us to reach a state of surrender and acceptance.
• It leads to a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Meditation serves as a metaphor for life itself. Not only does it require the development of dedication and self-control, but it also illustrates the value of working toward and achieving long-term goals. The knowledge that we can rise to the occasion in the midst of doubt and fear is an invaluable lesson. Henry David Thoreau expressed the value of releasing internal strength by saying, “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” The answers lie deep inside of us, and meditation is the key that opens the door.
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